Dec 24, 2015

2015 Best of the Rest; A Niles P. Joint


As What’s The Movement gets closer and closer to our Album of the Year extravaganza, I have the arduous yet fun task of looking back at all of the dope ass music that came out in 2015.  Since my own personal criteria for AOTY dictates that only hip hop LPs can be included, that leaves a few EPs, official mixtapes, and other projects on the outside looking in.  So I decided to make a list before the AOTY list.  I wanna be clear and say that THIS IS NOT AN HONORABLE MENTIONS LIST.  While there was a ton of quality hip hip to be heard, not everyone can realistically get a trophy.  But instead, I can write about the stuff that didn’t fit my top 10 criteria but was still a great listen.  Projects are listed in no particular order.

iSweatergawd by Jean Grae - I’m not sure if she’s in the twilight of her rap career or nah, but either way Jean’s musical stylings age like a fine wine.  Produced by Quelle Chris, the EP is only six tracks long but tackles everything from love to loss.  Of course Jeannie has her trademark humor and even has a posse cut feat. Tanya Morgan

The Nehruvian EP by Bishop Nehru - Fresh off of a joint album with DOOM, Bishy Bish drops an EP which functions as a starter set for anyone who was curious about his music.  Dude can’t even legally drink but raps/produces excellently.  No wonder Nas signed him for his Mass Appeal label.

GEMS from the Cubicle by Lyric Jones - Jones comes through with her second EP in as many years, only with a little more of an edge.  Dirty Diggs laces her with sample-laden beats on a project that has an Office Space theme, dialogue clips and all.

More Than A Game by SoulFULL - This is a project that I was lowkey mad I couldn't review since Rams beat me to it.  Franklin, NJ’s finest waxes nostalgic and spits over some dope beats from yesteryear.  This was a quickie joint of sorts but was still wildly entertaining.

CMPLX by Chelsea Reject - This falls into official mixtape territory as we get what some have labeled “holistic raps” from one of the new young Brooklyn elite.  Earthy yet accessible, Reject gets a Duck Down co-sign and proves she’s ready to move from AAA ball to the big leagues.

Solace by Earl Sweatshirt - Technically this is one 10 minute long track but it’s like multiple tracks rolled into one, alternating between instrumental and three separate verses.  The Odd Future alum basically makes an avant garde project on wax that perfectly captures the haze of depression.

Griselda Ghost by Westside Gunn & Conway - Elegant NYC grime is back on this project that has been produced by internet persona Big Ghost.  This shit is the musical epitome of taking the razorblade out from under your tongue so you can eat a filet mignon.  Championship combination.

Eight Million Stories by Maffew Ragazino - Speaking of the Big Apple, the Brownsville native crafts a retro-sounding EP that reads like a love letter to the greatest city on earth.  I feel like this one was way too slept on when it came out, so I recommend rectifying that by giving it a listen now.

Surf by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - OK so technically this is a full album by Chance The Rapper & friends (and by friends I mean a ton of guests in addition to his group.)  I put it here because it’s not strictly rap but it’s just so fun, whether giving 80’s pop vibes or instrumentals.  Replay value is crazy on this one.

Words Paint Pictures by Rapper Big Pooh - The former Little Brother emcee does the impossible and captures the Black American experience in seven tracks and two remixes.  Apollo Brown provides soulful instrumentals that are incredibly fitting for such a timely project.

P.O.M.E. by MostDope - On the local scene, Asbury Park native son MostDope put out a great debut mixtape and managed to become the best emcee in his city immediately.  Whether it’s original beats or already established ones, dude can rhyme over anything.  He’s just scratching the surface of his potential.

Sailing Gear Series by Benny Francs - This dude put out a loosie every other week as a part of a series inspired by 90s sportswear (think Tommy/Nautica.)  Collected in one place, they form like Voltron and make a smooth debut project.  Francs will go the traditional route next and release one cohesive mixtape at once but this was a novel idea for an intro to the game.

Songs in the Key of Price by Sean Price - We lost a titan in the game when Sean Price passed away on August 8th.  At the time he was preparing for the release of his official mixtape.  The 8 track version is dope but the 30 track version plays like an old school mixtape.  PF Cuttin does an excellent job blending all of the tracks together into one seamless medley.  This would be excellent as a career outro but P was always working and has some things in the vault.  Thanks to a good relationship between Duck Down and his widow Bernadette (rap unfortunately has been littered with stories of posthumous power struggles and thankfully this isn’t the case here) we’ll get more Sean Price material in the future.  R.I.P. Ruck.

  Now this list is incredible as far as music goes.  Think of it as one of those appetizer platters at a restaurant where you get a little of everything before the main course.  It also should be noted that Cin and Keys Era had projects that are scheduled to drop after this article is published that could possibly be worthy of spots on this list.  While not in time for that, expect articles on both of those projects individually.  I hope you check out everything on this list if you haven’t already.  Be on the lookout for my AOTY list soon.

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

No comments: